Alex Pietrangelo, Ryan O’Reilly, and the St.Louis Blues Stanley Cup Quest
Growing up in the Toronto region, he spent his childhood playing minor hockey in that talent-rich area. In the Toronto Pro Hockey Development program, his teammates included future NHL stars such as Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Philip McRae, and Michal Del Zotto. He was drafted third overall in the 2006 OHL Priority Selection. After finishing his second OHL season with 53 points (13 goals, 40 assists), he was selected fourth overall by the St.Louis Blues at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He then played his first NHL game on October 10th, 2008, against the Nashville Predators. After an ebb-and-flow circumnavigation between the OHL and the AHL, he finally earned a regular spot on the Blues in the 2010-11 season.
During that year, Alex Pietrangelo led all team defensemen with 43 points (11 goals and 32 assists), while also ranking third in average ice time per game. At the end of the 2011-12 season, he was named on the NHL Second All-Star Team. He became the Blues’ team captain on August 24th, 2016.
This center from Seaforth, Ontario, was the OHL first overall selection in the 2007 Draft. During his rookie OHL season, he scored 19 goals (with 33 assists, total 61 points). In the following one (2008-09) he netted 16 goals (plus 50 assists, total 68 points). He was selected in the second round (33rd overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Colorado Avalanche, with which he immediately made the starting roster on the 2009-10 season-opening night. He was one of the rare non-first rounds pick to immediately make the NHL in his post-draft year. During the 2012-13 NHL lock-out, he went to play in the Russian Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with the Metallurg Magnitogorsk. After many years of difficult contract negotiations with Colorado, the Avalanche traded him to the Buffalo Sabres on June 25th, 2015.
After three seasons with the Sabres, he was traded to St.Louis for three players, a 2019 1st round and a 2021 2nd round draft picks, a hefty price. But it turned out great so far for the Blues; O’Reilly achieved career highs in assists and points and tied his high in goals scored. He was even nominated for the Frank J. Selke Trophy award for the best defensive forward. As if this wasn’t enough, he contributed immensely to the Blues’ first Stanley Cup win. He scored 23 playoff points and earned the Conn Smythe Trophy for Most Valuable Player during the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Blues’ Path to the Stanley Cup
During the 2018 NHL off-season, the Blues acquired forward Ryan O’Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres through trade and re-signed Perron to a third stint with the team in free agency, while also signing forwards Tyler Bozak and Pat Maroon. On November 19, 2018, the Blues fired head coach Mike Yeo after starting the season with a 7–9–3 record and replaced him with Craig Berube. January 3rd comes along and the Blues were last in the NHL standings, 11 points behind the Anaheim Ducks. On January 5th, goaltender Jordan Binnington was recalled from the AHL and made his career first start. He subsequently posted a 21-5-1 record. On March 29, 2019, the Blues became the seventh team in NHL since the 1967–68 season to qualify for the playoffs after being placed last after January 1.
May 21 is the day when the Blues finally advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1970. To get there they had to defeat San Jose Sharks in a six-game Western Conference Finals’ series. On June 12, 2019, the Blues defeated the Bruins 4–1 in Game 7 to win their first-ever Stanley Cup. The Blues held the dubious characteristic as being the oldest franchise to never win the Stanley Cup; they were also the last of the 1967 expansion teams to win the Cup for the first time.
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